Guess what Ben Simmons? You proved Shaq’s point

There will be no ‘fresh start’ for the beleaguered guard

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You’re doing this to yourself, Ben.
You’re doing this to yourself, Ben.
Image: Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers’ guard Ben Simmons has not played a single game all season. Why? He wants to be traded. Why? Because after an abysmal 2021 postseason that saw Simmons shoot 34.2 percent from the free throw line before getting bounced by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round, Simmons rightfully received tons of criticism from NBA fans, national media, local news stations, his own coach, and even mainstream celebrities. Simmons can’t take the heat.

He wants a fresh start somewhere he can just play ball and not worry about trolls on the internet. Is that too much to ask for?

According to Shaquille O’Neal, absolutely it is.


The former MVP and four-time NBA champion called Simmons a “crybaby” for how he was acting, claiming that while all players get criticized, the truly great players take the criticism, learn from it, and improve. They don’t “sit out a whole season and ask to be traded.” In the video, Shaq claims that he and NBA on TNT co-star Charles Barkley have criticized numerous players to their faces, including 76ers’ forward and 2021 NBA MVP runner-up Joel Embiid. While Embiid took the criticism in stride, Simmons made like a hermit crab and tried to hide in his shell away from all the meanies making fun of his pathetic jump shot.

Simmons didn’t take too kindly to Shaq’s criticism, and a week later, the Aussie hopped into Shaq’s DMs on social media to air out his grievances. O’Neal explained the situation on “The Big” Podcast, stating that Simmons was upset that Shaq would call out a fellow LSU Tiger. Shaq responded by stating that Simmons should be out on the floor helping his teammate, Embiid, push toward the MVP Award and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Simmons’ decision to sit out isn’t helping anyone at all, including Simmons, whose trade value has dropped immensely since the end of the 2021 season. All Simmons’ actions have done is make it more difficult for the 76ers to win (arguably) and shine a negative light on himself. If Simmons really wanted to prove all his haters wrong, he would’ve worked on his jump shot during the offseason and...y’know, made some shots. That’s the best way to call out the haters, but hiding away and refusing to do anything? That’s something toddlers do, and it’s called a tantrum.

O’Neal has every right to call Simmons out for his actions, and by retaliating the way he did, Simmons only proved O’Neal’s point. He can’t handle criticism. He’s too worried about what other people think of him, and he’s so soft, he can’t even take advice from someone who’s many years removed from a similar situation.


Shaq’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers was defined by championships. Yes, Kobe Bryant and he may not have gotten along all the time, but the two worked it out and shared in all the glory together for the love of the game and the mutual interest of winning titles. Shaq acknowledged that his relationship with Kobe may have even harmed that Lakers’ team, and if he could go back and do it all over again, he would. “I realized this after I left LA,” said O’Neal on the podcast. “I don’t want to spend my whole career fighting for a useless title. ‘Shaq you the man. Shaq, this your team.’ In reality, what the fuck does all that mean? It don’t mean nothing. I could have won eight, nine championships with that man [Kobe Bryant] instead of us both arguing about whose team it is.”

Shaq has more experience in every single department than Simmons — aside from playing on the Australian national team; Simmons has the edge there. You’d think O’Neal would be one of the people Simmons would go to in order for advice on how to handle the situation he currently finds himself in, but no. Instead, Simmons would rather go after Shaq for hurting his feelings, and (probably) mutter statements like “You don’t know what you’re talking about” when, in reality, Shaq knows all too well.


Maybe that’s why no team wants to trade for him. Maybe that’s why even as Philadelphia’s asking price has dropped and dropped and dropped as the trade deadline approaches, no team is willing to add him to their squad.

Simmons is a three-time All-Star and has been named to an All-NBA Defensive team twice in just four full years. Teams should be lining up to trade for him, especially with three-plus years left on his contract. Instead, they’re standing idly by, hoping the 76ers’ will drop their asking price to $3.50, some warm gummy bears, and four tickets to see Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, if Simmons keeps this temper tantrum up, they might not even get that.